How to Make Welly Plant Pots

I am a GREAT fan of gardening with kids and every year the kids and I make an effort to at least grow SOMETHING. Usually we have a go at growing sunflowers, tomatoes, beans and potatoes. We also have TONS of strawberries in the garden (they grow like weeds), some raspberries, a little apple tree and and a blueberry bush. We don’t get MUCH food from the garden, but we get enough to make it fun and interesting for the kids. I think it is very important for kids to understand where food comes from and what effort goes into growing it! We are by no means expert gardners, but like all activities with kids, it isn’t about being an expert, but about having a go and hopefully having fun! Last year the school nursery created this Welly Planter Wall.. and I thought it would be nice to share with you how to make welly plant pots! Welly planters are such a fun way to garden with kids!!!How to make welly plant pots! It is easy and fun and great way to upcycle!

We have a whole post about a recycled container garden over on Red Ted Art and 5 Thrifty Garden Ideas here. Like with all these things, gardening with kids should NOT be expensive, yet it is easy to get carried away and spend a LOT OF MONEY! Don’t… keep your pennies for buying seeds and keep the rest as simple as possible! If you do get tempted.. you could always get a little garden set like this for your child’s birthday or as a “no chocolate” Easter gift:

no candy easter gifts - kids garden tool set

Kids Garden Tool Set! This is so cute and simple.  US Readersfollow / UK Readers (similar) (affiliate links)

Now onto our welly planters and the best way to make them!

How to make welly plant pots – you will need 

old wellies (preferably ones you can no longer pass on!)

stones

compost

a drill of sorts

and of course seeds or small plants

How to make welly plant pots:

Like with all recycled containers that you use as plant pots, you will need to create a “drainage” system. You don’t want water logged plants. So..

  1. Begin by drilling a few holes on the bottom of your welly. Of course adults should do this.
  2. then fill with some stones or broken pot pieces. Take care NOT to clog up the holes
  3. Fill with compost.
  4. Plant your seeds.

Your wellies can either be free standing or hung up!

Let’s Get Crafty Crafts for 2yrs olds+

As many of you know, I can’t resist a nice craft book review.. so when Cisco asked if I would like to take a look at two of the books in their Let’s Get Crafty series for 2yrs olds, I knew I wanted to take a look. Yes my kids are older now (6yrs and almost 8yrs) and YES, I have a host of craft inspiration at my finger tips over on Red Ted Art – Kids Crafts.. but I am always curious. Especially when it comes to the 2yrs old age group – which is bit of a tricky age to craft with. They are SOO WILLING and often not THAT able (yet). And crafting together, should, well be TOGETHER after all, right?

Also, my kids are at an age, where they are starting to have little craft sessions of their own.. so a book full of simpler projects is JUST RIGHT for them.

Check both titles in this Crafts for 2yrs olds series out online: UK Readers/ US Readers

crafts for 2yrs olds (3) crafts for two year olds

Crafts for 2yrs olds

So what did we think? Firstly.. my daughter went off with both books for a good read. That is usually a good sign. I can usually tell how good a book is by how long it engrosses her.. and she stayed engrossed for quite some time.

Finally, I managed to take a peak at the books and wrestle them off her and have a browse.

crafts for 2yrs olds (2)

The book really is filled with a great set of crafts for young kids. I love the combination of inexpensive materials and recycled materials, such as cardboard tubes to make bracelets and juice cartons to make ships.

I would say that there are a lot of childhood “classics” in here – like handprint trees and paper birds. But they are all wonderful childhood classics for a reason – and I feel every child SHOULD make these at one point in time.

The activities are easy, so the majority can be completed by a child, with help from an adult and I think these crafts and ideas would be particularly useful in a nursery and Reception class setting – where one teacher has to help many..

crafts for 2yrs olds (1)

The Felt and Fabric book is similar – felt is a GREAT material for younger kids to work with, as when you buy the right quality, you can glue it together instead of the need to sew. Similarly, if you are embarking on a how to learn to sew journey, then felt is also great for small hands getting the needle through the fabric.

Again, the projects are cute – I would say more diverse than in the paper book, but at the same time, suspect that they probably would require a bit more support from an adult. That doesn’t make them any less fabulous mind you!!

So if you have young children at home or work with young children, both these books would be a great resource!

Check both titles out online: UK Readers/ US Readers

DISCLAIMER: we received the copies for free in return for a review

How to Learn Your Times Tables

Yes… we are in the midst of the DREADED TIMES TABLES learning. Every child has to go through it at some stage, and boring as it is, I feel that learning your times tables WELL is a bit like learning to read – not quite of course, but if you can do your multiplications tables easily and well, SO MANY maths problems of the future intuitively fall into place. Divisions and fractions are ALL ABOUT your times tables, if you can see the relationship between numbers, you will find these topics much easier too. If you know that 6 x 4 = 24 and 24 = 4 x 6, but also 3 x 8 and 12 x 2…. well, there is all sorts of things you can work out………

So, boring as it is for my kids, we are LEARNING OUR times tables.. and we are LEARNING THEM WELL.

Unfortunately that involves a LOT OF learning by rote. I get my son to write them out over and over again ENDLESSLY. But we also use a some apps to practice the times tables.. we like SqueeblesTT  and 10 Monkeys (though my son doesn’t like the time pressure this comes with). I  also ask him multiplications randomly.. and focus on some of the really “hard to remember ones”.. for some reason, I feel that that is 8×7 and 8×8. We are also learning all our squares (2×2, 4×4 etc) as they give you reference points and have worked out tricks to remember the 9s.

All good. But it is still PRACTICE.

Here is a fun little game from the National History Museum.times tables learning game (5)

I was really keen to see if my son would like it.. and I confess to asking the PR for a review copy, they kindly obliged (thank you PR!!!).

times tables learning game (1)

The back comes in sets of 12 shiney cards and one set of 1, 2, 5, 10 cards. It has instructions of how to play about 5-6 different games and how to vary the difficulty level. Which is great. I feel that we have mastered out 1, 2, 5 and 10s.. BUT still like this round, as it gives my son much reinforcement and confidence to then move onto other combinations.

He REALLY enjoyed playing it (to my great surprise, as after all, he is till doing his times tables) and I think that this is a GREAT addition to our times tables learning. Especially, as it really introduces the “random element” of knowing your times tables well.

I think this would be a GREAT resource in schools – for group work or for one one – especially those children struggling to learn and practice at home!

Love them

DISCLAIMER: we received the game free of charge!

V&A Museum of Childhood (London) & National Doll Day

As many of you may know, we are a GREAT FAN of London and all the things that London has an offer to do with the Kids. Yes, London is busy and YES, London is expensive.. but if you plan your day right, you can have a fabulous day out at little cost. As “Sarf Londoners”, one place we had not had the time to visit was the V&A’s Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. When the lovely PR at Baby Born invited us to come along for National Doll Day, I thought it was finally the opportunity to make the “trek”.

It turns out, that it wasn’t much of a trek at all – as Bethnal Green is on the very handy and super fast CENTRAL LINE and the Museum of Childhood itself is only a stone’s through from the tube.

ENTRY IS FREE too, which is always a bonus.

Museum of ChildhoodWe had a fabulous time. I have to say that the Museum was much much MUCH better than expected. There is a great permanent exhibition of toys throughout history (until very recently too – we spotted things from 2013!). The kids adored see the toys and seeing if they could find things that they have or “already know from Daddy’s old toys”. The Museum is also “handily” interspersed with little activity stations and things to do – from a sensory area, to pretend tea, to robot mechanics and even a Sand Pit! The kids can dress up and create a puppet show or go on rocking horses.

If that isn’t enough, the Museum (on a Sunday), as lots of activity sessions for kids – we heard one singing session going and caught the Shadow Puppet show too.

As part of our day with the team at Baby Born, we had a go at Paper Doll making and playing with the new dolls out on the market. Though my kids were very shy at the Paper Doll making event itself, we took ours home and 2 weeks on, we have been colouring and cutting more and more and MORE paper dolls (printed off the internet). I am amazed at quite how much they have enjoyed this little arty project and for how long it has been going on!

Here is a little video we made about the Museum!

Such a fabulous day out and fantastic way to celebrate National Doll Day!

Thank you for luring us to Bethnal Green to finally visit this amazing museum and for the chance to get to play with all the latest Baby Born dolls!

Days Out With Kids – Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum (London)


As we finally hit our stride this Summer holidays we are ready to go out on adventures and explore. There SO MANY things for the kids to do and see in London. And as “city dwellers”, I particularly enjoy seeking out activities for the kids that brings them closer to the wonders of Nature! One such Day Out, is a visit to the National History Musuem‘s Sensational Butterflies.

Sensational butterflies-037-310315

You are invited to “Step through the tropical greenery as the exhibition takes you on the transformational journey of one of nature’s most incredible life cycles. Following the trail leads you past munching caterpillars, jewel-like chrysalises and interactive displays, while hundreds of striking butterflies and moths flutter above your head.”

We have had the pleasure and amazement of observing the Butterfly Life Cycle before (you can order “caterpillar kits” online!) – but we never cease to marvel at the sheer wonder of it. This year, we didn’t have the opportunity to “observe the Butterflies” at home, so it was nice for us to go to this butterfly exhibition. The kids were excited to see the different Life Cycle stages right before the eyes.. My daughter actually saw a butterfly hatching (the others missed it). In some ways the experience here of seeing – caterpillars, cocoons (and so many different ones) and final butterflies, was more exciting as they didn’t have to wait days between the stages! The magic was happening right in front of us in the short time we were there.

AT Scientist butterfly House -008-150413

The children were also delighted that the wonderful butterflies, would land on our rucksacks and on one occasion on one of the children’s heads – staying there for AGES! It was quite magical (and looked like a butterfly fascinator!).

This exhibition is truly beautiful, spectacular and memorable. I love that not only can you simply enjoy the beauty of butterflies, but that you also get to learn about butterflies and their life cycles – see and observe for yourself. Learn about “friends and foe” and what butterflies and caterpillars eat. Right up close to nature. As kids that grown up in a city, these connections are so important to them (and me as their parent).

If you are considering a visit to London this Summer, I totally recommend you come along to the Sensational Butterflies, it is too beautiful to be missed. Combine it with a visit to the Dinosaurs at the National History Museum.. and then if you have time, head over to Hyde Park and check out the gorgeous Serpentine Gallery and the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. The combination of these things makes for a FANTASTIC family day, creating treasured memories.

Disclaimer – we were invited along on a press trip to see the Sensational Butterflies.